|Lettie Lane's Autumn Stroll|
|Nine Rows of Ribbon|
If you think about it, an A is wide at the bottom and slopes up, so sewing the trim on in straight rows was out of the question. The only thing I felt I could do, in dismay, was cut 6.5" off from the bottom up, make it into a bodice and add a rectangle, gathered skirt. Of course this would work because the rows would be straight. And, it was only when I felt pleased with the dress and tried the coat on over it, that I just about cried. The dress was longer than the coat, and I'd worked so hard to get the coat just the right length to stay true to the illustration. Later, it occurred to me that I could have taken out the side seams of the dress and sewn the ribbon on this way, trimming the ribbon at an angle at the edge. However, you would not have gotten the volume, and the result would also be "chunky" side seams.
I couldn't hem it up because the first row of ribbon trim was directly on the hemline. So off the skirt came, and off came another inch of fabric from the top. You might be wondering why the hem length wasn't reasoned out in the mock up. Well, of course it was, but Lettie's dresses have generally been hemmed between the knee and calf. Hems and collars, collars and hems! Will they ever leave me be!
|Mock Up - Back to the Drawing Board|
The collar also caused me sleepless nights, since it kept popping up. I eventually drew one that had a tight curve, and this enabled it to lay nicely. The faux fur trim was fun to work with. I chose this because of how nice and soft it felt. For a doll's coat, normal real fur is just too long. You'd want a sheared fur to get the right scale, and look, and the faux fur is already sheared. There will be a time when I do work with real fur, and I'll have to shear it myself. I have a nice box of scraps from Dimitha in Canada.
|Working On Welt Pockets|
This coat seemed to have it all. Working with velveteen, lining with this slippery Ambience lining, an interesting swing style, raglan sleeves, welt pockets, fur trim and covered buttons. It was quite the production! I honestly believe this was the most difficult ensemble I've made to date. However, if I'm not working on something challenging, I don't feel like I'm progressing.
We've talked about hats, and the only thing I did differently to get the look was start with a buckram crown, but created a soft brim of just the velveteen. The velveteen was thick enough to hold a shape, yet soft enough to give a soft-brim, warm look to it. I had some pretty, deep-yellow chrysanthemums, and these made a perfect "color spot". Brown stockings, and beautiful matching boots made by Fran Quinn of Fran's Heirlooms.
This outfit provided alot of challenges with many new avenues to go down. Its one of those experiences that allow you to reflect that there's still so very much to learn. A friend of mine recently wrote that "practice makes perfect" and that she'd made over 200 outfits for Bleuette. Her work is impeccable. Of this there is no doubt. But, as I've reflected on this, the quest for perfection is simply that. There will be no end to the limitless designs one can create in the art of dressing a doll, each one being different, each one requiring new skills. The joy is in the creative process!
The holidays are upon us. I feel wonderful, and believe that through the practice of designing seasonal ensembles, I've been able to more deeply enjoy each season and holiday. Christmas will be a joy. I will be designing skating ensembles for both Polly Pratt and Lettie, while my dear friend, Fran, will be making their skates. I will even be designing my first outfit for American Girl - a work dress for Caroline that the company failed to make, but is prominently featured throughout her stories.
Miss E. Mouse
|Lettie Lane's Skating Ensemble|
|Polly Pratt's Skating Costume|